Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

~by Michaela Hayes

  1. Make a to-do list and start with what intimidates you the most. Get the hardest thing out of the way to make sure that you have the time and energy to really ace it — then move on to the easier stuff.
  2. Stay active. Taking care of yourself is so important, especially during high-stress times. I know it can be hard to find time to workout when you have eight projects, four exams, and one cure for world hunger due in the next week, but even 30 short minutes will help. Take a walk or ride your bike around campus. Group fitness classes are a great way to really force yourself to get moving, and they’re always free at the rec center. You can find the schedule here. (Note that only the group fitness classes are free, and not the yoga or cycling.) Or try an online fitness site, like Fitness Blender, that has free workout videos of all levels — like my favorite, kickboxing.
  3. Relax. Meditation helps with stress, anxiety, and a whole other slew of things too. You can find free meditation classes around town and on campus, but if you’re looking for something quick and easy, download the Headspace app. Give your brain a break: Get a massage, take a relaxing yoga class, put on your favorite music and close your eyes, have a dance party, stare at your toes, close your eyes and imagine how great you are going to feel when you are all done.
  4. Nourish your body. Getting all your daily nutrients will help you feel better and help your brain work faster. Make extra sure to eat some protein and fiber before a big test or project to keep your brain running. Drink lots of water, drink a cup of tea or hot cocoa, don’t drink too much coffee, eat exactly what you want if you can, eat good quality food, even treat yourself to something special — comfort food! Eat when you are hungry, not when you think you are “supposed to” eat. If you normally take supplements or medications, don’t skip doing that.
  5. Find a few clean, comforting study spaces to spend your time. Different people have different preferences when it comes to where they like to study — just make sure yours is free from distractions. Coffee shops around town and the library tend to be jam-packed around finals week, which can be distracting for some (me), so try and carve out your own little niche.
  6. Make outlines for your essays. Seriously, fellow English majors — It helps so much. Find your thesis, make a point by point outline, and then tie together the ideas in the essay. It strengthens the essay but also makes the assignment much less intimidating. Win/win.
  7. Make time for yourself that is not spent thinking about studying. If you take a study break, really take a study break to give your mind time to recuperate. You deserve some rest!
  8. Get help. Meet with your professor. Go to the Writing Center. Make a therapy appointment.
  9. Limit distractions. Take time off social media. Turn your phone off. Hide your TV. Whatever your go-to goof offs are, try to avoid them while you are studying. Download an app to help you concentrate, like the Forest app, “stay focused, be present.”
  10. And, finally, sleep enough. If you’re already on a sleep schedule, try to stick with it to help with daytime tiredness. Sleeping enough will help you feel better and help you remember all the things you’ve been cramming into your brain. Stress can seriously impede sleep schedules, so pick up some melatonin from the grocery store if you find yourself having trouble. Here are some tips on how to fall and stay asleep.